Toronto, Ontario — Magna International, General Motors Canada and Honda Canada are providing paid- time off for employees in Ontario to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the vaccination policies differ slightly across the companies, none of them are requiring their employees to get vaccinated, however, they are merely encouraging it through education and paid time off.
Magna International had on-site pop-up vaccination clinics in May, offering shots throughout the work day. While, GM told employees to sort out time with their supervisor and they will be granted paid-time off.
Combined these three companies employ about 29,000 employees in Ontario.
Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), told CBC every employee should be permitted to receive the vaccine during the workday, especially since it’s increasingly difficult to secure appointments in certain regions of the country. PSAC is one of Canada’s largest unions, representing over 200,000 employees in Canada,
“We wouldn’t want a manager out there saying, ‘What do you mean, you’ve got to go, 2 o’clock on a Thursday?,'” he told CBC. “You shouldn’t suffer a financial loss because you want to go and get vaccinated.”
Vaccinations are included in the three days offered by the province’s new paid sick-leave plan. However, not everyone is covered under this provincial plan.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour says this plan applies to any worker that falls under the Employment Standards Act, including temporary foreign workers and temporary help agency employees.
However, independent contractors and federally regulated employees do not qualify under the plan.
Simran Prihar, labour and employment lawyer for Goldblatt Partners, worries that employees who work in non-unionized establishments or who are part time won’t be given paid time off.
“It’s just an individual going to their manager to ask for the time off and being denied,” she told CBC. “There are not avenues that will provide that employee an easy way to have paid time off to do this absent an employer having the good will and willingness to provide that.”
The Ministry of Labour says any worker who thinks their employer is not following the plan’s rules — for instance, by not offering vaccination time — should file a claim with the ministry.
If the ministry finds the workplace was not abiding by the rules, it could be subject to a fine of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
For more information on the Ontario’s paid sick-leave plan, click here.